Sanctuary Organ Specifications
WYNNE CHAPEL ORGAN
Wynne Chapel is much beloved by the Highland Park Presbyterian Church family.
Two concerns made the search for an organ builder a cautious one. First, the specialized musical requirements for the Chapel services called for an instrument with a wide ranging palette of tonal colors and at the same time, capable of sublime subtleties. Put plainly, loudness or harshness could not be tolerated in this intimate setting. Second, the organ case and display pipes had to fit naturally into the refined elegance of the Chapel fabric.
The Wynne Chapel organ, built by Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco, is at once anchored in tradition and daringly innovative. The overriding objective was expressiveness - in tone color, in dynamics, and in providing the organist with total command over his musical resources. The feature which most departs from present-day organ building practice is the wide dynamic range from a whisper of tone - almost inaudible - to the thrilling crescendo of full organ. The objective was to traverse this entire range with absolute smoothness.
As is the tradition in America, this instrument draws freely on English and European organ building traditions which have been studied carefully by Schoenstein. For example, voices in the French tradition include the Harmonic Flutes, Cor de Nuit, Gamba and the French Oboe. Voices of English origin include the Diapason, Gemshorn, English Oboe, Trumpet, and Tuba.
On this organ, there are several special tonal qualities not found on typical church organs. Of special importance for Wynne Chapel was the ability to produce ethereal effects. Five undulating "celeste" stops (10 ranks) as well as a variety of delicate flute tones contribute to this quality. (There are six different flutes at 8' and 4' pitches.) A rather unusual feature of the Swell is the inclusion of two 2-2/3' tones — one of principal quality, and one of flute quality. The 1-3/5' tone which complements these is of such light character that it can blend with either. Although not immediately obvious from the written specification, this instrument has an abundance of 8' Principal tone. The Choir Diapason is a small scale, slotted Principal; the Swell Gamba is large, similar to a Montre on a small French organ; and the Salicional is quite reminiscent of a Geigen Principal.
Dedication events for the new Chapel organ included recitals by Thomas Murray and Davis Wortman, a performance of Marurice Duruflé’s Requiem, and a commissioned hymn by Jane Marshall. The Schoenstein Organ is a memorial gift from the estate of Murray S. Johnson.